By Samantha Wu
The Toronto Fringe launches new crowdfunding initiative
The Toronto Fringe Festival (returning again this summer) launched a new project today that into the viral resources of crowdfunding to help support independent artists of all disciplines across the country. Fund What You Can (FWYC) functions similarly to Indiegogo and Kickstarter by allowing artists to manage their own fundraising campaigns.
Keep reading below the cut for more on the FWYC.
By Sam Mooney
6 Essential Questions explores a strained reunion between a mother and daughter at Toronto’s Factory Theatre
Last night was the world premier of 6 Essential Questions by Priscila Uppal at Factory Theatre. The play is based on her 2013 memoir Projection: Encounters with My Runaway Mother, a book that I’ll definitely be reading soon.
Renata (played by Mina James) travels from Canada to Brazil to meet the mother who abandoned her when she was five.
My friend Pat and I both thought that Elizabeth Saunders was fabulous as Mother; she’s flamboyant, completely self-centred, and unable to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. In her head she has a numbered list of things that she likes about her and – sometimes apropos of nothing in particular – will trot something out. “The 547th thing I like about myself is…”.
Three friends argue over the value and interpretation of art at Toronto’s Unit 102
Serge thinks it shows refinement. Depth. Modernity. It may very well be his proudest possession.
Marc thinks it’s a white rectangle with white stripes. His dog could have painted it. And Serge spent how much on this piece of shit? Oh lord…
Ivan just wishes they’d stop fighting.
The stage is thus set for an examination of identity, modernity, friendship, self-respect, rude words, kind gestures, fisticuffs and felt-tip pens.
A love story musical for Sondheim fans, Marry Me a Little is playing at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre
Marry Me a Little is a musical for Sondheim fans currently playing at Tarragon Theatre Mainspace. My phrasing is deliberate. While the music and lyrics are written by Stephen Sondheim, this particular show is a patchwork that was conceived and developed by Craig Lucas and Norman René. Taking songs that were cut from early Sondheim musicals, they’ve strung them together to suggest a bittersweet love story.
Let me set the scene for you: There is a gorgeous loft apartment. Yes, it really is stunning. Ken MacDonald has created an urban bohemian dream—exposed brick, large windows, high ceilings. Into this artsy wonderland, drops a Man and a Woman. They are never named. At first, we don’t know much about them except that they both work in musical theatre—he’s a songwriter and she’s an actress. Read the rest of this entry »
A couple’s decision to have a baby leads to interesting complications in Lungs at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre
Lungs, currently playing at Tarragon Theatre, is a two-hander that explores the relationship between a man (Brendan Gall) and a woman (Lesley Faulkner) as they decide, and then attempt, to have a child. As the play starts the man has just dropped the “let’s have a baby” bomb on the woman in a most inappropriate circumstance – while in line at IKEA.
This provokes the woman into a neurotic spiral, worrying about what a child would mean for their lives, and her body, but mostly concerned with the ethical implications of bringing a CO2-producing human into an overpopulated, over-polluted world. The man tries to calm her down but he does it poorly — as always, telling someone to “calm down” does the exact opposite. Read the rest of this entry »
By Dana Ewachow
Love themed burlesque lit up the Gladstone Hotel in Be Mein Valentine
Be Mein Valentine is an annual burlesque event set at The Gladstone Hotel. Thrown by the Skin Tight Outta Sight Rebel Burlesque troupe and Boylesque T.O, Be Mein Valentine is a cabaret of stripping women, men, and the occasional gingerbread cookie. The night combines the celebration of Valentine’s Day with the theme of German tradition and debauchery. Even though it seems like a random mix, it was nothing but entertaining.
Three charming hosts guide you through the den of iniquity. Sexy Deutsch Mark Brown, a small-town conservative man who feels corrupted by all the naughtiness around him; Ginger Darling, the clever, cheeky and – obviously – ginger host; and lastly Balonia Wry, the sex-crazed and hilarious dominatrix who, with her wandering leather crop and tasteless jokes, steals the show.
Plenty of laughs to be had this in the great city of Toronto — and not all at the expense of everyone’s “favorite” (subjective, really) mayor. While there’s always a batch of hilarious improv brewing up at the Comedy Bar, this week also launches Toronto’s Sketch Comedy Festival beginning on March 6 with over 40 troupes ready and willing to tickle your funny bones along with guest stars including the creators and stars of Slings and Arrows and Gavin Crawford of Comedy Network’s Gavin Crawford Show. All at a price that won’t break the bank. Now go forth and laugh! Laugh until your sides split!
Here is what’s going on in Toronto theatre this week. There are several great shows to catch for the week of March 3rd, 2014. ** Shows marked with the double asterisks and in red are the ones that make Mike, our Editor, wishes he could exist in multiple parallel universes so he could check them all out.
By George Perry
Unusual staging sets a unique tone to A Beautiful View playing at Toronto’s Factory Theatre
I was stricken when I first entered Factory Theatre’s Studio. Instead of the usual linear floor plan, the stage had been moved so that seats rose up on either side, butterfly like. The effect is that when you go see A Beautiful View, you are literally walking into a book, a diary. The stage is the spine, the seats on either side the pages, rising up and just waiting to be read.
By Dana Ewachow
The classic Shakespearean tragedy is told through the beauty of ballet at Toronto’s Betty Oliphant Theatre
Romeo and Juliet is one of William Shakespeare’s most well-known and culturally referenced plays. The tale tends to be spun as a romance, but all who have stayed on for the final act know that the story ends in tragedy. The two lovers are torn apart by rival families, distance, and even death. In Canada’s Ballet Jorgen‘s production at the Betty Oliphant Theatre, Romeo and Juliet are given a new obstacle in the production: silence.
William Shakespeare is without a doubt a wordsmith. His grand odes to love and soliloquies of pain are meant to sway the hearts of audiences. In ballet, there is no shouting or crying. The dancers speak with their bodies, floating across the stage in a whisper and leaping into the air for shouts of joy. The dancers convey all the emotion of words through Bengt Jorgen’s inspiring choreography.
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